Is it Electrolyte Depletion?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 18, 2009 3:08 PM GMT
    For the past two weeks I've had some painful and sudden muscle tightening, in my hands, forearms, biceps, calves. NOT all at the same time but the locking-up sensation strikes one of those muscles a few times a day or during the night.

    Today I told a trainer about my problem. She told me immediately that I needed electrolyte supplementation, especially potassium.

    So I went to my runner's store and got some various tasty gummy bars and powders. Well, no muscle clenches yet so maybe it works OR maybe it's too soon to tell.

    Any experience with this problem?
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    Nov 18, 2009 3:34 PM GMT
    I'm monitored for potassium levels because of the diuretic ("water pill") I take for my high blood pressure. If I don't also take the potassium chloride tablets my doctor prescribes I'll get muscle cramps in my calfs, most typically in bed toward morning.

    I'm not sure if cramps in the hand is common with a potassium deficiency, which I thought mostly affects the larger muscles. But I'm not a doctor, and would recommend you see one if this continues. Blood & urine work could confirm if your body chemistry is out of a normal range, as your trainer thinks, and responsible for these symptoms, and check for other possible causes, as well.
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    Nov 19, 2009 7:42 AM GMT
    Update for the benefit of someone who might experience the same problem:

    After a full day of loading up on electrolyte drinks, eating a banana and drinking two glasses of tomato-veggie cocktail(superrich in potassium), the muscle-lockdowns seem to be over.

    My legs are sore from yesterdays heavy squats and lunges. It's that 'good sore' that lets me know the muscles got challenged but there's no cramping and gripping that I would have felt last week.

    One day is too soon to declare a cure or to draw a conclusion about the cause. But so far, the electrolyte therapy works.
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    Nov 24, 2009 7:00 AM GMT
    Years ago as a student trainer (aka water boy) I worked with one of the trainers for a NFL franchise at a high school football game (pretty awesome for me, a high school kid at the time). It was a warm night and a lot of the players were cramping up... His remedy was to use tums tablets, which are calcuim carbonate. Worked great.

    Hypocalcemia can cause a lot of the muscle spasms and cramps that lead to neurological and muscular dysfunction--so if you aren't drinking milk, maybe consider a supplement?

    Your trainer was right, hypokalemia (low potassium) can also cause muscle to go haywire... If you are training in a warm climate or sweating a lot, you will be lose a lot of potassium through sweat. Drinking orange juice or eating a banana are both easy ways to boost your potassium intake without using supplements.

    Also keep in mind if you are beginning a new routine your muscles may not be used to the stress you are placing on them, and fatigued muscle tends to cramp easily. After a few weeks hopefully the muscle will begin to catch up.

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    Nov 24, 2009 7:27 AM GMT
    coconut water is amazing to restore electrolyte balance. and sharkies, those organic gummy bear candies.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Dec 01, 2009 5:57 PM GMT
    Ok ....
    If it Is electrolyte depletion you need to ask yourself why this was happeneing in the first place

    If you were working out and sweating a huge amt that might be it
    but electrolytes like k+ and Ca don't just deplete themselves
    Be careful .... your heart works by using these ions or chemicals to work
    They go off the scale and so does your heart